Things are looking better for engineers, especially for those who've stayed put long enough. The latest exclusive Design News annual salary survey shows that engineers with 20 or more years of experience make close to six figures—$94,517.85 on average. Across the board, 53 percent of you receive $80,000-plus salaries and close to half of you (43 percent) saw a decent 2-4 percent raise in the past year.
Such good news bumped out salary and layoff as the biggest concerns on your mind. Instead, the new buzzwords are the feeling of accomplishment, opportunity to be creative, and flexibility, which include the office location, decision-making processes at work, and even the freedom to run a side business.
"Campus-like environment" at work is satisfying, one of you said. "Work/life balance" is important, many of you added in the survey responses.
In addition, 50 percent said technical challenges are what you like most about your work. More than half of you (53 percent) consider flexible work hours a top benefit at your current job. Most (88 percent) find your work satisfying or very satisfying. Only a mere 21 percent put down in the survey that salary would be a reason to leave your current job.
Employers Are Taking Note of Your Preferences
Lockheed Martin continues with its "life matters" programs, which, according to internal surveys, are among the top reasons why people enjoy working there, says Dave Waller, director of Human Resource communication. These programs include the 9-80 schedule, which means employees can work up to 9 hours a day, and take one day off (the 10th day) once they've worked 80 hours in a two-week cycle, Waller explains.
Better yet, the company is hiring aggressively—both internally and externally—thanks to increased business with the government in terms of information technology, homeland security, space systems, and systems integration. "The government has done a lot that's changing the industry as a whole," says Linda Olin-Weiss, director of staffing services. "It is placing greater emphasis on the integration of various platforms, and that provides a lot of opportunities for us in particular as a systems integrator."
For 2005, she adds, Lockheed has about 14,000 openings. These openings range from software engineering, IT, systems engineering, to electrical engineering, and are located across the country.
Relocation assistance is available to both internal and external hires, Olin-Weiss notes, and the company particularly values candidates with a strong sense of ethics, which is the focus for one of the employee satisfaction surveys that Lockheed conducts every two years.
This is all good news to those who are already working in, or are interested in entering, the defense and aerospace sectors, which continue to offer top average annual salaries—$99,038.24 and $89,379.59, respectively, according to our survey.
Those in other sectors have something to cheer about, too. For the first time, engineers in the semiconductor industry enjoy the highest annual average income in our survey results—a near-six-figure $99,819.44. The electronic components and communication systems sectors have seen major rebound, too, offering engineers average annual salaries of $93,461.05 and $93,192.71, respectively.
For those who're interested in joining Lockheed Martin, Olin-Weiss encourages them to check out the openings at http://rbi.ims.ca/4394-559, where they can also learn about the company culture.
In fact, the Internet has become such an essential tool in a job search that many of you have told us that you regularly log on to websites such as DICE (www.dice.com), a technology job board that also offers resume assistance and continuing education resources, even though you may not be actively looking for an opening.
Another factor that continues to play a key role in your career is education. Engineers with a Ph.D. in engineering ($106,057.14) and those with a master's degree in engineering ($101,341.28) far outdo their counterparts with less academic achievement. More than half of you (52.17 percent) have a bachelor's degree in engineering and make $86.953.10 annually.
But other "real world" skills and experience matter, too. To be able to get ahead in the profession today, 88 percent of you said communication and presentation skills are essential, followed by computer skills (85 percent) and project management skills (80 percent).
After all, close to half of you (49 percent) have both budgetary and supervisory duties, and many of you said that engineers must learn to put on many hats these days. No wonder one of you wrote, "flexiblity, willing to take on anything, to seek, to ask, and to share" as important attributes, too.